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TheStreet Open House

Carlos Slim Betting on Gold

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, according to Forbes list of billionaires, is looking to make money while precious metals shine. Slim's Grupo Carso SAB's mining arm Grupo Frisco is mulling opening more mines this year in order to benefit from rising gold prices that stood at record highs last month. The billionaire is now digging for gold in Mexico. Last month, the group revealed its plans of investing approximately $3 billion in Mexico during 2010.

On July 13, the company acquired El Porvenir gold mining project from Canada-based Goldgroup Mining for $25 million. The mine has an annual production capacity of 50,000 ounces of gold, according to Goldgroup.

During 2009, Frisco's gold production zoomed more than nine-fold to 97,492 ounces from 10,496 ounces in 2008. This led to a 20% increase in the mining division's sales to $332.76 million. The company's competitors in Mexico include Fresnillo and U.S. based Goldcorp (GG).

"His portfolio is set up so he can shift to a sector that's performing well cyclically," Gaspar Quijano, an analyst at Vector Casa de Bolsa in Mexico City, told Bloomberg. "It's all part of diversification."

Gold touched a high of $1,256.80 on June 18. Subsequently, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world's largest gold ETF, touched a high of $122.83. The ETF gained 11.6% during the second quarter, attributed to safe-haven buying on European debt crisis and fears of a China slowdown.

As of July 16, its gold holdings stood at 1,314.21 metric tons, unchanged from the previous day's close. On a month-on-month basis, holdings have increased by 8 tonnes.

During the second quarter, silver was up 6.5%. Moreover, iShares Silver Trust (SLV) gained 6.2%. On July 16, silver holdings were unchanged at 9,185.29 metric tonnes compared to the previous day's close.

According to Jim Rogers, silver is a better investment than gold as the metal has corrected 50%-60% from its all-time highs recorded way back in 1980.

Gold has lost 2.5%, while silver has declined 3.5% during the last four trading sessions. Gold and silver were last trading at $1,180.90 and $17.69, down 1% and 0.9%, respectively.

Karvy Global Services (www.karvyglobal.com), a subsidiary of the Karvy group (www.karvy.com), provides specialized research in asset classes including stocks, mutual funds and insurance to leading Wall Street firms.

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